In this issue

Is the clitoris the UFO of sexual health? by Anatomical Education

The Deakin University & Victorian Nurse and Midwife Health Program Survey

Featured Member Jose Andrelin S. Dela Cruz

We have Moved! Canberra Sexual Health Centre

EN to RN in the world of Sexual Health by Melissa Arnott

Congratulations Alison Kincaid

ASHHNA Scholarships Application Deadline Extended

Nominations for ASRHA Innovation Award and ASHHNA Post Prize

ASHHNA Practise Standards 3rd Edition Available

Networking Opportunities


Training & Education

Membership Payment : PayPal Error



Dear ASHHNA Members, 
Welcome to the Winter edition of your quarterly newsletter! 
In this edition we are fortunate to have many contributions from our exceptional members – thank you very much and please keep them coming, we absolutely love hearing from you! You’ll also find links to nominate yourself or someone deserving for upcoming awards, as well as upcoming events, networking opportunities, jobs and a delicious recipe for you to try! 
As always, if you find something of interest, chances are we will too so please get in touch to share what you have found. Additionally, if you have any feedback, comments, or requests get in touch. 

Is the Clitoris the UFO of Sexual Health?

by Anatomical Education

Look at the above photo. That is a 1:1 scale model of a clitoris. Did you know that the clitoris is about 9cm by 9cm and is wrapped around the urethra and vagina?

Did you know that the clitoris vanished from Grey’s Anatomy textbook in 1948 and really didn’t make a comeback? Did you know that Dr Helen O’Connell, an Australian urologist described the anatomy of the clitoris in 2004 but no one really noticed? If any of that is news to you then you may have a case of UFO – Unreachable Female Orgasm.

Women’s sexual pleasure and the clitoris is the unidentified flying object. It’s missing in most text and reference books for health professionals. Research tells us that sexual dysfunction in women is common. Issues such as low libido, difficulty with orgasm and painful sex are frequent and often just accepted as ‘normal’ and particularly normal for women.

Women’s underwhelming experience of sex tends to be medicalised and biological or pathopsychological reasons are investigated. But what if the answer was health literacy? Acknowledging sexual pleasure as fundamental to the human experience and bringing that into sexuality education and training for everyone seems to be overlooked in Australia.

The funny thing is most of us have not had any formal education in how to deliver this type of health literacy with our clients. One step towards this is explaining anatomy and function and destigmatising genitals and the guilt of pleasure.

You will have met women in your practice who hold myths about their genitals and how they should perform sexually. One of the most common issues for women is the ‘Am I normal?’ question. Research on women’s masturbation is rare but demonstrates women’s uncertainty about their normality. It is likely that you don’t have good visual aids or teaching tools to explain the clitoris. To be clear, the models are not sex toys. They are not used in or on the body. The models are used for teaching and demonstration purposes or therapeutic conversations with clients. Possibly you have not been exposed to this knowledge in your training.

Anatomical Education is an Australian innovation to provide anatomically correct models and health literacy experiences collaborating with Professor O’Connell. Health professionals report good feedback when using this model with clients or students. Health professionals report that this is valuable scientific knowledge that can immediately be applied into clinical learning and practice. Sexual wellbeing is invaluable to everyone and those in relationships. Health literacy increases bodily autonomy.

Please visit our website if you wish to purchase some models and we have partnered with Family Planning Welfare Association NT to deliver a webinar in early August.

A/Professor Suzanne Belton
Anatomical Education

Deakin University Victorian Nurse and Midwife Health Program Survey

Deakin University, in conjunction with the Victorian Nurse and Midwife Health Program, are conducting a survey exploring stress and alcohol consumption among Australian nurses. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your privacy is important to us and all results will be deidentified prior to being included in any publications arising from the project. This study has received ethical approval from Monash Health and Deakin University. The Participant Information Sheet is available for viewing on the first page of the survey. 

Featured Member
Jose Andrelin S. Dela Cruz

Jose Andrelin S. Dela Cruz is a RN and Clinician/Training Coordinator in Quezon City. He works at the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health Inc, a local collective non-government, non-stock, non-profit organization of grassroots women and men, health advocates, and professionals dedicated to promoting and pushing for the health and rights of disadvantaged women and their communities. Aside from being a development professional, Jose Andrelin is also a staunch advocate of sexual reproductive health and rights, specializing both in didactics and practice since 2012. 

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown and restriction of movement, and healthcare challenges on services we face. We, as nurses serve as the lifeblood of our healthcare system; sexual and reproductive health services are essential, and we continuously provide non-discriminatory and rights-based sexual and reproductive health services amidst these times.

We currently have several members in the Philippines, who are also members of the Philippine Sexual and Reproductive Health Nurses Inc (PSORHN) – a non-profit professional organization of nurses pushing for the advancement of reproductive health nursing as a specialty practice in the Philippines.

ASHHNA provides free membership to nurses working in Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV in our neighbouring developing countries. 

Click below for more information regarding ASHHNA membership!

Above Left: Jose Andrelin in full PPE undertaking HIV testing. Above Right: Jose Andrelin doing an outreach service inside a cab giving a sub-dermal implant to a woman in the community who cannot go to the clinic. 

We Have Moved!

by Canberra Sexual Health

After 36 years the Canberra Sexual Health Clinic (CSHC), once known as the Gilmore Clinic and before that used as the Woden Valley Hospital Nurses’ Home in days when young nurses had to ‘live-in’, has closed its doors and relocated to brand-new premises – 500 metres down the road on Canberra Hospital grounds. 

The original Canberra Sexual Health Centre has had many happy moments with some wonderful staff and patients coming through the doors. However, in recent times space became a real issue as the number of patients continued to increase. The area where the old CSHC was located is being replaced by a new emergency, surgical and critical care health facility.  So, for CSHC it was onwards and upwards (literally from the ground floor to level 4).

Above: The new clinic with a Canberra view

Above: The new clinic is amazing. It is fresh, modern and light. There is space enought that we have increased our six clinic rooms to ten! 

We relocated on the weekend of 19-20th June, had one day to unpack and back to business on Tuesday 22nd June, an auspicious mid- winter day.  

The new clinic is amazing. It is fresh, modern and light.  There is space; we have increased our six clinic rooms to ten! 

The team is very excited with the move and our patients have told us they love the space, with the relaxed ambience of the waiting room and spacious clinic rooms. There is also some new artwork coming. What a privilege for clients and staff!

Please drop by and have a look if you’re in Canberra – (let us know first).

Anne Baynes
RN Level 2
Canberra Sexual Health Centre 

Above Left: CSHC staff visit our new building  Above Right: Rose Evans (RN) at unofficial opening

My journey from EN to RN in the world of Sexual Health

by Melissa Arnott

I remember it clearly, the phone call that changed it all, the call that shifted my focus from acute hospital-based nursing into the world of Sexual Health, the place I now call home, my forever career. 

In April 2017, mid-way through a busy shift on a Cardiology ward in Melbourne, I received a phone call from Rebecca the NUM at Sydney Sexual Health Centre (SSHC) thanking me for my interview and offering me a position of Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN). After a swift move to Sydney in May 2017, I was filled with excitement and trepidation as I was to start my new career in the specialty of Sexual Health.
From the moment I walked in the door of SSHC, I was warmly welcomed into a clinical environment of passionate, driven and non-judgmental multidisciplinary staff and a world where education, training and professional development is highly encouraged and supported. As I like to call it, SSHC soon became my nursing utopia. Before too long, I was trained in asymptomatic screening of priority populations attending the rapid Xpress testing clinic.  Next I was working as the secondary nurse at a peer based outreach testing service for men who have sex with other men in Darlinghurst, Sydney.  
Working in these two services I began to appreciate the importance of innovative models of care designed in partnership with clients and the community.  Testing was not just the process of pathology collection but so much more, an opportunity to educate, and opportunity to provide health promotion and most importantly an opportunity to engage people in care, my greatest joy.  Once I had developed confidence in testing, I began working in the treatment clinic followed by phone triage and telephone results provision.  
This large variety of work was all possible thanks to the team work and the direct support and supervision I was provided by the RNs in the team.  I loved my work and I wanted to continue building my knowledge and my skills in the field. I sought opportunities to work alongside the research nurse and medical officers, performing data collection to assist with their quality improvement projects, and I attended internal and external sexual health training, but I kept wondering… where to next?! 

You see, I had reached the limit of my scope of practice as an EEN (something I was very proud of!) but by now I had developed such a commitment and passion for the sexual health specialty I began to wonder what life would be like as a Registered Nurse (RN). Then came the day, for me my tipping point, I was working in treatment clinic waiting for some medication to be prescribed by a doctor for my patient and watching nurses around me provide treatments under their own supply and administration protocols. I decided it was time, time to build on my EEN career and seek the autonomy, advanced scope of practice and career development opportunities I was craving.  I promptly applied for my Bachelor of Nursing via online learning at Charles Sturt University (CSU). The next morning, I found myself sitting with my NUM’s Rebecca and Kelly, planning what the future may look like, and how to combine working and study. Thanks to endless support of my team, I managed to complete this transition in two years.   
Although I knew I would return to sexual health one day I decided to complete my RN Graduate year in the acute setting in a busy Sydney Public Hospital, an amazing and at times grueling experience.  I was able to apply so many aspects of my previous knowledge from sexual health in the tertiary care setting – always considering STI’s and BBVs as differential diagnosis for certain presentations and thinking about including certain tests when people identified risk factors that were not always front of mind in the general medical setting.  I also gained experience during my study working in the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network.  
Once again, I was able to put my previously learnt skills in sexual health care in to practice, working with vulnerable priority populations.  I participated in Dried Blood Spot (DBS) testing for HIV and Hep C and gained experience in Hepatitis C management.  
I loved teaching and training colleagues who were unaware of certain aspects of STI’s, and Blood borne virus care and discussing stigma and easy ways to approach testing conversations. So you see, my passion for sexual health attention was never quashed only fueled. Then one day, a text message from an old colleague with a link to an advertised RN position at SSHC, was all it took for me to start planning my return home. 
On Sunday 21 February 2021, my RN Graduate year ended. On Monday 22 February 2021, saw my return to SSHC. My welcome home has been one to remember and I plan on remaining a permanent feature of SSHC for my nursing days to come. 
In the sexual health specialty, you are not a number, you are a family member of a team both at work but across networks who consistently inspire you and encourage you to strive to be the best nurse you can be. 
If Sexual Health is an area of nursing (for both registered and endorsed enrolled nursing) that sparks your curiosity, I highly recommend that you reach out to your local sexual health center and see if the world of sexual health is where you too belong.  
By Melissa Arnott
Registered Nurse
Sydney Sexual Health Centre

Congratulations to Alison Kincaid

We offer our congratulations to Alison Kincaid, a long term ASHHNA member who recently received an OAM for her commitment to nursing!

Scholarship Applications

As a result of COVID and these unprecedented times we have received fewer applications than anticipated.  The ASHHNA executive have therefore decided we will broaden our criteria for this year only to allow for some enhanced opportunities for nurses.
ASHM Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Conference

Want to attend this year but don’t want to jeopardise your chance to apply again next year? 

We are offering 10 nurses the chance to apply for a scholarship this to attend the conference without impacting your chance to apply again when things are back to ‘normal’

Our hope is to provide more opportunities to stay connected and continue learning… even if it is via zoom!
Are you currently undertaking Post-graduate study in a relevant field?

We are offering a one-time opportunity to apply for a scholarship of up to $1000 to be put towards a tertiary education subject (conditional on the subject matter of the course being relevant to the specialty field and nursing practice).

Carol Martin Professional Development Scholarship For Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV Nurses and Midwives
Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare.


Nominate Now

Enter The ASHHNA Post Prize Now !

ASHHNA will be awarding a prize for the best nursing poster submitted to the 2021 Joint Australasian HIV&AIDS and Sexual Health Virtual Conference 6th -9th  September 2021.

If you would like your poster to be considered for a prize, please email a PDF copy of your poster to by COB on Friday 13th August. 

To be eligible for the poster prize, the primary author of the poster must be a nurse.  ALL nurses are welcome to submit their posters for judging regardless of ASHHNA membership so please share with your colleagues.

We have another exciting nursing panel discussion on holistic models of care scheduled at the conference this year, keep an eye on the website for the program announcements.

Our hope is to provide more opportunities to stay connected and continue learning… even if it is via zoom!
Are you currently undertaking Post-graduate study in a relevant field?

We are offering a one-time opportunity to apply for a scholarship of up to $1000 to be put towards a tertiary education subject (conditional on the subject matter of the course being relevant to the specialty field and nursing practice).

Carol Martin Professional Development Scholarship For Sexual & Reproductive Health and HIV Nurses and Midwives
Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare.


ASRHA Innovation Award
Nominations Open Now!

Recognising successful innovation and achieving peer-evaluated excellence within or on behalf of the Sexual and/or Reproductive Health community, that serves an unmet need or improves outcomes
Please send through your nominations to by completing the attached form by COB Friday 6 August.

Australasian Sexual Health
and HIV Nurses Association
Practice Standards
Third Edition 2021

The Australasian Sexual Health & HIV Nurses Practice Standards Third Edition
2021 is available to download below.

Calling All Nurses
Networking Opportunity

Would you like to join a nursing networking group for your patients who are Trans Gender Diverse Non-Binary?

To register your interest or for more information email Iffy or Maggie


Hepatitis C Nursing
30 July 2021  |  9:00 am – 3:45 pm  |  Fraser Suites, Perth WA
Register Here

Hepatitis B Nursing: Advanced Management and Care
13-14 August  |  9:00am – 1:00pm (AWST)
Register here

The Albion Centre | Partnerships in Health 
Semester Two Courses
Register Here

A reminder to new and existing members that as part of your membership you have access to the ASHM online portal, where a significant number of online course are free and available to you.
Need to activate your affiliate membership?
Click here to activate! Need the access code? Email us!

Membership Payments

Some members are reporting receiving errors on the PayPal page when renewing memberships, but membership payment is going through! We are working to fix this issue, please check your statements to ensure the payment has gone through – it appears as though we are receiving them. Thank you!

Tea Break Recipe
Ray of Sunshine Biscuits

One of our nurses brought these in on a Monday morning much to the delight of the rest of the staff. You could too!
1 pkt Arnott’s butter nut cookies
1 395g tin condensed milk
125g butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
Dark chocolate melts
Pre-heat oven to 180°. 
Lay butter nut cookies flat on lined tray. Place in oven for approx. 10mins or until soft. Remove from oven and gently press the cookies in the centre to mould into shallow dish.
To make caramel filling:
Melt butter and sugar over high heat, then reduce heat and add condensed milk and stir for approx. 4mins. Once it has changed colour and becomes thick you can spoon the filling into each of the moulded cookies.
Melt chocolate and cover caramel and then place in fridge for 35mins to set.

Got something to share?

The ASHHNA Newsletter is distributed quarterly every year with some great content from our members across Australasia.

As we rely on our members, we really do encourage our members to reach out and submit content as much as possible so we can try bring as much wonderful information to you all so that we can share the latest developments, educational opportunities or anything related to sexual health you think our members might appreciate. 

Please send any contributions to:
Kendall Buckley or Kate Fisher 

Kendall & Kate

ASHHNA acknowledges the traditional owners of this land the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation as the Traditional Custodians of this land that this newsletter was written. We acknowledge Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We recognise their continuous relationship to the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.